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UN urges conflicting sides in CAR to abandon weapons

27 December 2013 [15:00] - TODAY.AZ
The United Nations on Thursday urged Muslim rebels and Christian vigilante groups to lay down arms in a sectarian conflict that killed hundreds in Central African Republic (CAR), dpa reported.

"Civilians have been killed without cause. We cannot tolerate this situation. Violence needs to cease and arms need to be handed in," UN special representative to CAR General Babacar Gaye told journalists in the capital Bangui.

Gaye also encouraged religious leaders, as role models of Christian and Muslim communities, to advocate for peace.

"The role of the international community is only to support this process," he added.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross told dpa its workers were moving through the capital to collect bodies and rescue the injured from renewed fighting on Wednesday night, despite the presence of French and African soldiers.

France has sent 1,600 troops to CAR, which has been plunged into a humanitarian crisis since the Seleka coalition rose up against the government in December 2012 and overthrew president Francois Bozize, a Christian, in March.

Interim president Michel Djotodia has been struggling to restore law and order in the country, which is rich in gold and diamonds, despite the support of more than 3,500 African Union peacekeepers.

About 400,000 of CAR's 4.5 million people have been displaced and scores of civilians have been killed, especially in the country's north-west.



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